Turntable Shopping

For the past few months I have been pursuing the internet for a turntable to put into the living room. I have a few vinyl records that I have collected over the years and I have a couple of more on the horizon that I could see myself getting. I am not looking to do any crazy music setup for a lot of listening; the convenience of iTunes and Airplay is too great, but for a select few albums I think I could definitely enjoy listening to them on vinyl. 

The turntable craze must be in high gear though as the prices for some of these old turntables is through the roof. Turntables that should be under $100 are asking for prices well over that number. The prices only escalate from there. I am sort of find this processing turning into the same frustrating you get when buying a car, spending a lot of time haggling over minutia only to walk away from the deal exhausted.

I suppose I will see how this endeavor goes and whether I will just break down and purchase a new turntable. The turntable itself is only a part of the entire process. I still have to at least get a set of bookshelf speakers as well. My old stereo receiver I believe has a phono input so that should hopefully be good to go on that front. 

So a guy almost died on the tennis court tonight

So I was playing a tennis match this evening and on the courts behind us a man with his son and his son's friends were also playing around, just hitting the ball. I saw that the guy fall at one point out of the corner of my eye. It appeared he broke his wrist, but it didn't seem like a big deal at the time. He was holding his wrist, but did show any major visible pain and he was walking around fine.

A couple of minutes later I hear one of the boys screaming and I turned around to see the man collapsed along the fence. I grabbed my water bottle and my towel and ran to him as fast as I could, as did most of the people on the courts. The first gate though was locked and I had to go the long way around, outside the courts. Another man playing basketball got to him right before I did and started CPR on him. He said that the man wasn't breathing, but I am unsure. The man was definitely not responsive.

His son, probably, 13-14 was sitting on the ground with his head on his knees just screaming. I went over to him and hugged him and tried to get him to walk with me away from the situation, but he wouldn't move. He was just frozen. A minute or two later the man was finally revived and I saw him sort of jerk back to consciousness.

He was very alert when he woke up and was trying to stand up almost immediately. He had no idea what had happened and was being argumentative with us. We kept trying to just keep him laying on the ground with his head propped up with my towel, sipping on some water. He eventually stood up and started walking around very wobbly, but talking about how he was fine and how he broke his wrist and needed to drive to the ER. I eventually had to stop him and look him dead in the eye and explain to him that he had just been unconscious for several minutes and that the man in the red shirt next to me had just performed CPR on him. It didn't seem like it was registering with him. His son was pleading with him to listen to us. He must have been in shock, because he kept playing with his broken wrist and showed no signs of pain.

The medics were there quick, probably within five minutes. They were talking him through various questions asking him his phone number, and address. I am guessing they were trying to determine his state of mind or find out if he had a stroke or something. His son was pleading with him to go in the ambulance. Eventually the police officer asked us all to step away and few minutes later they must have convinced the man to get on the stretcher and go in the ambulance.


B&N selling off the Nook business - I hope that is good news for Nook

News has been all over the web that Barnes & Noble has decided to split off its Nook division and sell it off. I hope this actually means good things for the Nook in the next couple of years. I am an Amazon Kindle user, but most of my family uses Nooks (sink versions). I personally think they are fantastic ereaders and they do have a really nice interface. It seems like B&N itself didn't know how to properly push the Nook devices out. Perhaps with some new management they can aggressively target the Nook like it needs to be targeted. 

It seems like the biggest problems that the Nook has had in its existence so far has been its marketing and its online services. When was the last time you saw a TV ad for a Nook? The answer is never, whereas Amazon has done a very good job of producing Kindle TV ads around the holidays. The Nook has also suffered quite a bit with its online delivery services. They have had some significant problems and they tried to implement a Whispersync type of service to sync your progress up to the cloud and other apps. For a long time it only partially worked. If a new team can get in there and fix two of these main problems I think it could help a lot. 

I would also say that they should ditch the tablet version and the whole multi-media approach. B&N has its history in books and literature. I think the Nook company could really own that space if they ditched the videos and music and went all in on the books (and may be magazines). I would love to see them really make a premium line of sink readers. Push that sink technology hard. The Kobo Aura HD has the highest resolution sink display right now and for hardcore readers that is a niche market I think could be profitable. Publishers seem eager at this point to fight back against Amazon just as they did with Apple and iTunes a few years ago. Nook could have an opportunity to strike some really good publishing deals. 

Also, if you have ever been on the Nook sites they actually have a pretty good social media team going. They have some excellent blogs and online communities that push out some great content for fans of reading. It features some good interview and other content. They also have continually offered their "Free Book Friday's" deals which I think are a boon for readers. The problem is, it is near impossible to find these on B&N's website. 

The Nook (and B&N in general) also really should highlight more that they are leveraging the epub format. Technically any book bought from the Kobo or Google Play stores can be side loaded onto a Nook without issue. KIndle's can't do that. It would be nice if Google Play or some other service could license a way to wirelessly send books purchased on these other stores right to the Nook wirelessly to alleviate the friction of side loading. The idea of having multiple stores accessible to your device is something that could be a great sell for the Nook hardware business. 

Summer is always so busy

Whew, summer is officially here. I just got back from a great vacation to Florida and now I see that my summer schedule is already filled up. There just is never enough time to handle all of the things I really want to handle during the summer months. The weather is so nice that I want to get outside to do things like golfing or my motorcycle or even just going to a museum or something. At the same time I always want to get in all of my other hobbies like doing music, getting some summer reading in or watching some good movies. Something always seems to slip however and I can never get it all in. Motorcycling, tennis, golf, music, video games, reading, family functions, music concerts. 

It is all going to go by quick and sure enough autumn is going to be here. Don't get me wrong, I love the seasons, but sometimes I feel like I never get to fully enjoy everything. The fall comes and you are instantly in the holiday rush and the, boom it is the dead of winter. 

Has The Idea of Democracy Failed?

I was having an interesting conversation here the other day. It started with the recent discussions about Ukraine and Russia's incursion into Crimea. Most of us have seen stories on the news referencing all sorts of Cold War topics and it got me thinking about the discussions that were ongoing at that time about the failure of Communism. I actually studied quite a bit on these sorts of topics in college since my major was political science with a focus on political theory. 

My topic of conversation then shifted to the problems we seem to be having so often over the past decade or so of mistrust. Mistrust of people with their government, with their teachers, with corporations. It just seems like everyone is angry or upset with everyone else, and to some extent there is some legitimacy to that idea. It all sort of came to an exclamation point in my head this evening when I saw this video from this afternoon from 60-Minutes about problems with our the stock market currently operates. It got me thinking that we have gotten to a point now in society that perhaps we can say that "democracy" (really republicanism, but we will say democracy since that is what the media likes to say) and perhaps our notion of capitalism has failed, much the same way communism has. Look at the story for example from the Washington Post where a kindergarten teacher quit their job because it is no longer about teaching.  

Now this is not to say that capitalism has failed when you look at it from a GDP or market perspective. We consistently see data that shows that the US GDP and stock markets are continually rising. At the same time however we see consistent data that wealth in the US is not being distributed evenly and that the problem is worsening. It makes me feel that we sort of should be questioning what exactly should be the measurement of success for our national concepts. It feels like from a policy perspective, when truly trying to look at policies that benefit the nation, we have seen increased evidence that the core ideas of the democracy decision making process. Is the final measurement of success really just the wealth of our nation as a whole? What exactly should be the measurement of that wealth? GDP? Culture? Test Scores? Art?